(Topic ID: 246769)

My first restoration: Mata Hari


By HoakyPoaky

44 days ago



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  • 96 posts
  • 19 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 days ago by HoakyPoaky
  • Topic is favorited by 28 Pinsiders

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Topic poll

“Which alternative color scheme do you prefer? See Post #17”

  • Magenta base 1 vote
    4%
  • Red base 0 votes
  • Purple base 2 votes
    8%
  • Keep the original color scheme 21 votes
    88%

(24 votes)

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There are 96 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
#1 44 days ago

I thought I would make this thread (more or less for myself) just to document the process & look back on it later.

I’ve been looking for a late 70s chime game for my collection. I’ve also wanted to get a pin with Dave Christensen artwork. I just cleared up some space in the garage to finally attempt to restore a game. So a friend had a players condition Mata Hari just sitting in storage. Looks like the perfect match for my first restoration

I’m mainly doing this to learn more about these machines & pick up some skills to hopefully do more jobs like this in the future. Perhaps doing a retheme or a homebrew someday...but you have to start somewhere! Thankfully I’ve become friends with a few local guys who can point me in the right direction if I get into trouble. So let the fun begin

#2 44 days ago

So as far as the game goes, it hasn’t been powered on in many years. Looks there is acid damage on the MPU. The cabinet has the typical ware & scratches of a 40year old pin. Missing the key to the coindoor so haven’t been able to look inside it yet, but everything should be there. The German dagger backglass is in great shape & doesn’t need to be replaced. Some of the plastics are warped but none of them are cracked. The playfield has some ware but is pretty nice overall.

Mata Hari is such a great looking game, so I really think this one needs to look pretty again. I’ve been inspired by some of the other Mata Hari restoration threads, so here’s what I plan on doing...

1) New Alltek MPU & lightdriver boards for sure. Don’t sure what else it might need.
2) Install playfield hardtop, rebuild with new flippers, pops, drops, etc. New posts, rubbers, etc. Install LEDs. I just want to to play great & look nice.
3) Restore cabinet & re-stencil with Pinball pimp stencils. Possibly new purple/red/black color scheme instead of yellow base color
4) Restore apron & paint new color to match new cabinet scheme.
5) Get everything looking shiny again, repaint the legs & rails or possibly get new ones.

Lots of work for a first restore, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. Not expecting pristine collector quality here, but I will do my best. Will I screw it up? Ha probably. Only one way to find out.

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#3 44 days ago

So if I’m going to pull the playfield, I’ll need a rotisserie. So I’m building one from Vid’s design this weekend. All put together, but I’m just waiting on the paint to fully cure before assembling. I was going to make the rails 22” wide, but I decided to make them 27” to accommodate a widebody someday.

My only concern is that this project will take me many months to complete, so I’m hoping the playfield won’t be prone to warping by sitting in the rotisserie for that long. I think I read somewhere that it should be spun into the vertical position if left in the rotisserie for long periods to help prevent this.

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#4 44 days ago

Rotisserie done. That was a really easy build. I love the fact I can break it down & store it in pieces when not in use. Now to get the coin door open. Missing the key unfortunately.

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#5 44 days ago

Playfield looks pretty decent besides the wear in front of the slings.

#6 44 days ago

Good luck man I’ll be watching for sure. Paint the saucer black!

1 week later
#7 32 days ago

Drilled out the coin door lock & was able to get inside. The coin door parts are pretty rusted, but everything is there inside the cabinet. The MPU has serious acid damage so it will need to be replaced. Found a few burned out connectors. Found the manuals & schematics. With all the reading I’ve been doing, decided to start writing down my notes in a binder or easier reference.

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#8 32 days ago

Powered the game on. All I got was a few strings of GI bulbs to light up. No worries. I was planning on replacing the MPU & lightboard anyway. The displays are out too. I was thinking of replacing them with LED displays, possibly upgrading to 7-digit xpin displays. Starting to get pricey haha.

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#9 32 days ago

As far as the cabinet goes, it’s in pretty good shape. Just a few areas of concern, specifically the delaminating plywood on the back of the head. At least the cabinet isn’t splitting from what I can tell. The neck is in good shape. Just various nicks that should be easy to fill with bondo. Going to use fiberglass epoxy for rebuilding some of the corners.

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#10 32 days ago

So it’s time to start gutting this thing so I can begin the cabinet restoration. Starting the disassembly with the head. But first I went through & labeled every every connection. Then I took tons of photos to remember where everything goes when I reassemble down the road. To make things easier & more organized, I put specific parts into labeled ziplock bags. Most of this stuff is going to get cleaned & tumbled to remove the rust before reinstalling.

Removed the door, the boards, the power supply, etc. As I was doing all this, I was thinking that when I re-paint with a different base color (like purple instead of yellow) it was going to look pretty dumb with yellow paint inside the head. So I decided to tear everything out, including the aluminium sheets. They were stapled in so securely that I ended up destroying them as I pulled them out. So those will need to be replaced too. All the original cards basically fell apart when I removed them, due to the brittle old paper. Perhaps I can reprint.

In any case, the head is completely gutted & removed now. Next I’ll remove the playfield & start gutting the cabinet.

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#11 32 days ago

Well it looks like you're off to a good start. And you obviously have your work cut out for you so I'll be watching for sure.

#12 31 days ago

I was able to finish the tear down today. Removed the playfield & placed on the rotisserie. Still haven’t found an answer if a playfield left on there for an extended period is prone to warping. I’m in a high desert/low humidity climate here, so I’m not sure. With all the wood working & painting I need to do I won’t be getting to the playfield for awhile.

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#13 31 days ago

Was able to remove everything from the cabinet & clean it out. I left the chimes & slam tilt attached to the plywood & just removed the entire thing. The coin door was removed, plunger, etc etc. I even removed the ground braid. So now I can paint it however I want. The cabinet looks solid to me, just just the touch up work needs to be done. Again I took a million photos & labeled everything into bags.
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#14 31 days ago

However I’m not too proud to admit that I bent up, scratched & basically ruined the side rails while trying to remove them. I don’t know if I was missing the wrong tool or what, but those nails were rusted completely & hammered deep into the plywood. I had to pry back the rails with a screwdriver just to barely get at the nailheads & pull them out. In fact every nut, bolt & screw was rusted bad & was difficult to remove. I guess 40 years will do that to a pin. I’ll be happy to replace that old stuff with new screws, nails, bolts, etc.

In any case, I was thinking about replacing the dented old rails with new ones before I started disassembly. Now I definitely will replace.

Now that everything is disassembled, it’s time to start repairing the cabinet & sanding.
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#15 31 days ago

So you want DC artwork but want to completely change the colors?

#16 31 days ago

Turn the playfield 90 degrees so it’s resting up and down not flat

#17 31 days ago

So referring to the color scheme of the cabinet, I’ve never liked the fact that the base color of the cabinet is yellow, when there is little yellow on the playfield. The primary colors used are red, purple & magenta. So I plan on using the Pinball Pimp stencils, but I’m just going to change up the colors. Hey it’s my game, let’s make her unique!

So after fooling around in photoshop, this is what I’ve come up with using the color swatches available on the Rustoleum website. When I refer to the base color, that’s the color I’m swapping out for yellow & will become the color of the girl.

Go to to poll & vote for which one you prefer. I have to say, I’m leaning towards that purple/magenta combo. It’s pretty sharp & fits the game well. The head edges around the backglass would be purple. And I will repaint the apron as well, which will be purple in any case.

MAGENTA BASE
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RED BASE
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PURPLE BASE
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#18 31 days ago

I like where you’re going with a different color scheme, however I’d encourage you to make your own design instead of using the stencils.

Maybe use the snakes and dagger. Or something with the bullet.

#19 31 days ago

Ha thanks for the suggestion, but I’ve already got enough on my plate. I’d like to get experience with stencils for future projects anyway.

#20 30 days ago

Picked up an 18# Tumbler from Harbor Freight today, along with some fine crushed walnut medium & Fritz polish. Already have an ultrasonic cleaner, so I’ll clean parts in there first with some Evaporust before putting them in the tumbler. Then a final pass with Mother’s Aluminum polish to bring out the shine.
Really curious how these parts turn out.

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#21 29 days ago

Finally got around to modifying my lift cart today. Will make it easier to move the cabinet around for painting.

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#22 28 days ago

I’ll tell you what. Just finished sanding the original paint off the head with 80 grit. By the time I lay the final primer coat down on everything, I’m never going to want to look at my sander again. I suppose stripping the original paint is the worst part, but damn this sanding is for the birds.
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#23 27 days ago

Nice work ! It will be worth it in the end. As far as the colors for the cab, I'm not sure. I think the woman should be yellow to contrast the background. Just a thought. I have a players Mata Hari I will make nicer one day. Good luck !! Looks great so far.

#24 27 days ago

Well the woman/background have to be the same color, as that is the base & the first color that goes on. I am thinking that I'm going to go with the purple & magenta, and then after those are laid down I might remask some small areas (her lips, the skull & crossbones) and hit them with Red Createx in the airbrush. Depends how the stencils come out.

Sanding is the top priority at the moment. It making a mess of things in the garage & I just want to get it done.

#25 23 days ago

The tension spring on my garage door snapped the other day, so I had to wait a few days before the guy came & repaired it. Hate sanding with the garage door closed.

But finally finished striping all the original paint from the head & cabinet. I will say that using a quality 3M respirator made a huge difference. My lungs feel great after 6 hours of sanding.

There are only two areas where the wood is separating. The neck of the cabinet & slightly at the top of the back box. I only have two large clamps so I did the neck first. I used Titebond III wood glue, then put some in a syringe & was able to get the glue deep within the area. Then I clamped for 24 hours.
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#26 23 days ago

So the part I was most nervous about was using fiberglass epoxy to be build the delaminated corner on the backbox. It was a pretty large area that I had to cut away.

I prepped by cutting the broken wood away with an exacto knife. I placed screws for the epoxy to bond to. I used painters tape to mask off the area & create a mold to pour the epoxy. Then I waited about 3 hours and sanded with 150g sandpaper.

Just look at that result! I’m really impressed how it turned out. Nice sharp strong angled corner now.

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#27 23 days ago

Now I’m just filling small nicks & flat areas with Bondo auto filler. Once that’s done I’ll give final passes to everything with 150g & 220g sandpaper. The hard work with the cabinet is over I think. I really don’t care about making the inside or underside pristine.

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#28 23 days ago

Yeah see I told ya the tape method would work. Looks like your doing a great job.

Nicely done!

#29 22 days ago

timab2000 Thanks for the support!

I've been going back rereading your thread. Now I'm undecided what to do with the bottom of the cabinet. I should have taken a photo yesterday. I basically have the same issue you had. Lots of dark stains at the front of the cabinet & a lot of rotted/broken wood along the bottom edges. Half of me says who cares about the bottom, the other half says if you're going through the trouble of a cabinet restore, then you should do it right.

Care to share what materials you used for a new floor to the cabinet? Did you have to cut it to size? Is the old floorboard nailed & glued in making it hard to remove? How did you secure the new floor? What wood strips did you use to repair the edges along the bottom? Assuming lots of gluing & clamping. I looked at your photos & I get the basic idea, you just didn't mention the details of what you did.

This will be a lot more work I'm sure. Still on the fence.

#30 22 days ago

The bottom of the cabinet is glued and sits in a groove that is made into the cabinet. I think if you look thru this posting:

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/project-paragon-breathing-life-back-into-the-beast/page/8#post-5105222

He goes into more detail than I did on replacing that. Page 8. He uses a router, but I have found that you can see the layers of plywood and you can cut or chisel that out.

I bought the 4 x 8 sheet of 1/4 inch hardboard from my local lumberyard that had the yellowish color that the original has but not the texture like the old stuff. The old stuff used to be stuff called masonite, but it is not easy to find if you can find it at all. If the bottom of your cabinet is kind of broken up you should see the groove that the sheet sits in. So I just cut or chisel just enough to get the bottom out. Then use a piece of wooden screen door trim as replacement then glue it all back in and sand to a finish.

Here's what the wood screen door trim piece looks like

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#31 22 days ago

Thanks for the link to that thread. I'll read up tonight

#32 18 days ago

The cabinet work continues. Final sanding tomorrow to get ready for primer.

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#33 17 days ago

All that work clamping and gluing and you didn't replace the bottom??? What's up with that??? You were 1/2 way there. (just kidding)

But then again no one is going to see it. Look forward to seeing it with the primer on it. Good work so far!

#34 17 days ago

Yes. I realized halfway through replacing most of the wood that I could have easily just replaced the bottom. Lesson learned for next time!

#35 17 days ago

After final 220g sanding & masking areas, it looks like it’s finally time to prime.

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#36 17 days ago

So it’s 90 degrees & 15% humidity here. Is what it it until late September, so I’m going for it. Decided to use this 2in1 sandable filler primer & started with the head. No wind today either.

Hit it with 2 light coats of this stuff. This is the worst spraying primer I’ve ever seen. Shook the hell out of it & it just comes out inconsistently. I used 2 cans & was barely able to cover the head. What gives?? Assuming it’s the filler medium in there that’s making it flow bad.

Letting it dry couple hours before sanding & trying again. It is that the first coat just gets sucked up by the wood? Should I be using this stuff? I’m a little concerned at the moment. At this rate it’s going to take 20+ cans to do the job. Holding off on the cabinet until I get the head done.

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#37 17 days ago

Wonder if it is the 2-1. I have had good results with the regular grey primer. A small bit of advice, when you do your stencils stay away from rapid drying products. I ran into all kinds of trouble with Krylon Color Maxx. That stuff is terrible for multiple layers.

#38 17 days ago

It is the 2in1. I had the whole cabinet sanded smoothly before using it too.

#39 17 days ago

That 2in1 is awesome. Sand it down tomorrow with 220 it’ll look amazing. Then your paint will lay on it perfectly. Let the wood suck it up man

#40 17 days ago

Well I lightly sanded it down with 220g, which was a total pain in the ass. That filler material got in every nook, cranny & corner. It took me forever to get everything smooth to begin with. I’m not sure I need a primer with filler material in it.

Again the coverage when first spraying was terrible. I’m extremely hestitant to put that 2in1 on again. I’m done for today. Looking for another option.

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#41 16 days ago
Quoted from HoakyPoaky:

At this rate it’s going to take 20+ cans to do the job

Well I hate to break it to you, but I have use easily 4-5 cans( Rustoleum 2X) for the back box to get it smooth enough to paint. Spray it on and sand it off. I do a good thick coat and then sand with 180, respray then sand again with 220, spray again and then sand with 400 before I spray the color.

It's a lot of work but in the end it comes out nice. If it were easy...everyone would be doing it

#42 16 days ago

I just used the same product you are. And the coverage is about the same. One whole can for the head and two for the cabinet. Now the first coat is on. I expect to use three more. Stick with it.

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#43 16 days ago

Well I’m going to pick up some of the Rustoleum 2x primer & try that as well, mainly inside the cabinet & backbox. I’ll keep plugging away with the 2in1 on the outside of the backbox I guess & see how it turns out.

I guess I’m just confused when to use a filler 2in1 primer. Is it a better product to use on wood to hide the woodgrain, because it’s thicker than a regular primer?

Well you guys are making me feel better though. I just wasn’t sure what to expect. Off to buy a ton of cans.

#44 16 days ago
Quoted from HoakyPoaky:

Well I’m going to pick up some of the Rustoleum 2x primer & try that as well, mainly inside the cabinet & backbox. I’ll keep plugging away with the 2in1 on the outside of the backbox I guess & see how it turns out.
I guess I’m just confused when to use a filler 2in1 primer. Is it a better product to use on wood to hide the woodgrain, because it’s thicker than a regular primer?
Well you guys are making me feel better though. I just wasn’t sure what to expect. Off to buy a ton of cans.

I’m telling you just stick with the 2in1 no need to mix them up

#45 16 days ago

Don't get discouraged. Your persistence will pay off.

You can't really get good coverage from a rattle can like a spray gun. So I found that you just have to keep laying down multiple coats and trying to build it up as you go.

Don't get too heavy on the coats it might run which isn't a big deal cuz you'll just sand it off anyway. But you sure don't want that to happen on the color coat.

Eventually you'll notice when you're sanding that you'll see less wood showing through and it'll be more just primer I think that's when you know you're starting to get it laid out flat if that makes sense.

Use spraying the primer is kind of a lesson on how to spray the color.

#46 16 days ago

Got the first coat on the cabinet & the second on the backbox today. I used the 2x primer inside the cabinet, which went on much easier & is just slightly darker. I used the 2in1 on the exterior of the backbox & cabinet. I just wanted to see the difference between the two primers.

So I’ll just be priming/sanding until I get it flat & even on the exterior. But the wood grain on the back of the head is really visible. I have feeling no matter how many coats I put on, I’m never going to be satisfied. Seems like it will be hard to get all that grain to disappear. The cabinet primer went on so much better.

When I paint the base layer, I’ll be taking my time, laying it flat & doing one side at a time.

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#47 15 days ago

Just curious... are you guys sanding these primer coats with your orbital sander or doing it all by hand? I’m using my sander, but in the lowest possible power setting.

#48 15 days ago
Quoted from HoakyPoaky:

Just curious... are you guys sanding these primer coats with your orbital sander or doing it all by hand? I’m using my sander, but in the lowest possible power setting.

I am using my orbital with 120 grit. Then if the side is close I move on to 220. There is no power adjustment on mine. So full blast. I am running into some small depressions in the wood, not from the sander, so I am going to wipe body filler around my cabinet to fill the voids the primer is not filling.

#49 11 days ago

Too windy to paint the last (i hope) coat of primer today, so I was playing around in photoshop again.

So it seems like most people think that color schemes on cabinets should stay original, for tradition, for resale value, or whatever reason. Well I'm still leaning doing something different. I just want to be 100% sure I like my changes, because I do NOT want to sand down & restart the process again if I don't like it.

I've tested several different colors in statin & gloss finishes, and I have to say that I just don't like the shades of the satin options, so gloss it is.

Anyway I'm deciding between these two variant schemes. Scheme 1 is based on the original colors (black/yellow/red) and Scheme2 is based on the colors that appear dominantly throughout the blackglass & playfield (purple/pink/red). It's a coin flip at this point. Someone is going to have to talk me out of it.

The only other question is.... are there concerns when laying down the other colors when the cabinet base is black? Will the shades be dulled?

compare1 (resized).jpgcompare2 (resized).jpg
#50 11 days ago

I suppose this is another option too. Has neon sign like feel to it
Screen Shot 2019-08-09 at 4.01.40 PM (resized).png

mh-blackpink (resized).jpg
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